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5 Old School Hobbies that Will Help You Stay Stress-Free

5 Old School Hobbies that Will Help You Stay Stress-Free

Ah, the hectic lifestyle that we all lead in the 21st century! It leaves nothing to the imagination simply because we have no time for imagination. We are all busy with our schools, jobs, practices, family chores, etc. Sometimes, we just need to take it down a notch, relax, and let the stress and the pressure of such hectic lives just flow out of our bodies.

However, it is not always possible to simply wind down. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t stop thinking about all the obligations that you have. The brain (that stubborn little piece of gray matter that won’t work with you sometimes, even though it’s supposed to be you) needs some distraction- something that will occupy it and make it forget all about the troubles both ahead and behind. Taking up a hobby is a perfect way to do this. It will give you something fun to do while relieving you of the obligations of the serious stuff in life.

The benefits of having something to do in your free time are numerous from helping you take a break, making you physically active, to producing eustress (which is a “positive” kind of stress that keeps you excited about life).

Of course, you can’t just pick any hobby and stick with it. If you don’t like it, it will never work. The point is to find something that you like doing. This way a hobby will be a stress-relief. Here are some of my recommendations for something to do in your spare time which are both productive and stress-relieving.

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1. Start writing

Every list that I’ve seen on the internet regarding hobbies does not fail to mention reading books and listening to music as something that you can do for relaxing. Don’t get me wrong, these are great hobbies, but you can take it a step further and really engage the creative side of your brain.

If you start writing you will get a window into a completely new world- a world that you shape and where everything is according to your rules. You don’t have to be an expert writer. Write whatever you want not caring about a single literary device. There are no rules if it is just a hobby. At the same time, it will give you a way to write down your sorrows and the things that keep you on edge. It can also give you a way to examine and thereby deal with those things, if you are creative enough.

The best thing about this is that it is practically free. All you need are some pieces of paper and a pen (writing on your computer is not as relaxing as you’d think). The feel of actually writing is incomparable to anything else. If you are unsure how to start there are creative writing classes available, most of them for free usually as a part of a larger program.

2. Gardening

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    My sister and I are two very different people. For example, while I’m writing this, she’s in the garden plucking the grass, watering the already grown plants and planting new ones. I could never do something like that (I don’t like to get dirty), but I can see the happiness of having a well-nurtured garden in her every move when she’s outside. She does not tire from all the digging, bending, plucking and all the other activities connected to this.

    When I ask her how this activity relaxes her, she says it’s all in the subtle symbolism of the flowers and what feelings it evokes in her. She also says that she can activate both the left and the right side of the brain as nurturing the plants needs analytical skills, while arranging them requires creative thinking. Add to this the fact that it provides regular physical activity and you’ll see that she’s right – it really can do wonders for your mind and change your life for the better.

    Also, did I mention that you can actually provide for your family this way? There is a woman in Italy who manages to provide for a family of five by producing everything on her own, in her garden. The whole family lives on €5 per day (that’s €150 per month – for comparison, Italy’s minimum wage is €800), but they have everything they need from bread to soap, all homemade and- most of it- from what is grown in the garden. While what she’s doing is more than a hobby, it just goes to show how productive gardening can be.

    3. DIY

    There are some (like my sister) who dislike writing and think that they have no talent for it, and there are others (like me) who dislike gardening because of the dirt, the hard work and the insects. For those who dislike both, there are other options. Are your hands crafty? Have you tried making things on your own?

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    Doing it yourself does not always mean making things completely from scratch. You don’t have to be a carpenter and carve a piece of furniture out of a tree trunk all on your own (although, if you think you can do it, go for it, but take some lessons first). You can choose simpler things which will still give you something to do and think about. For example, you could refurbish what you already have. The idea does not have to be yours. There are plenty of suggestions for DIY things online.

    I have found some ideas for hand painted wine glasses and- being an artistic soul- I sat down and re-decorated all my wine glasses. While I was doing it, I was focused on the task and it made me oblivious of all the other problems in life.Whenever I’d drink from them, I’d be delighted that I’ve managed to create something new and exciting out of something that I’ve been looking at for years. All it took was a few dollars’ worth of acrylic paint and some time to focus on the painting, and that was it.

    4. Hiking

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      When you mention hiking, some people immediately think of a person climbing up a tall mountain with 45-50 pounds of gear strapped to their back, but this is just one way to do it. For the less hardcore out there,( e.g. people like me who can only spare an hour a day for fun physical activities), there are easier trails available. If you have your gear ready to go and live near some good hiking trails, you can hike nearly every day without messing up your hectic daily schedule.

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      While running or some exercise should be done daily for the sake of your health, they can be monotonous activities. Hiking on the other hand, can take you places you’ve never been before away from the urban jungle of your city/town and into unspoiled nature.

      Wherever in the world there is elevated ground, there are hiking trails available. It can even be something as simple as a long walk up a small hill. What’s better, most of these trails are free – all you need is to join a couple of hiking enthusiasts who will take you along. Once you’re at the top of that hill, you’ll feel free like never before and you’ll forget all about the stress that’s been gnawing at your mental health.

      5. Sewing and knitting

      Finally, for those among you who are physically active enough (constantly living on a hectic timetable can be an extremely tiring activity on its own), settling down in a chair and working with your hands only probably sounds like a 5-star-hotel holiday. That’s exactly what knitting and sewing bring to the table. Add to that the fact that you can create your own wear and be your own fashion designer – what else does a woman need?

      Knitting is something that you don’t need to invest much in, although it is a bit more complicated than sewing. You need to buy some down and learn some knitting patterns and you’re good to go. However, it takes great skill with your hands to make every pattern as good as it should be.

      Sewing, on the other hand, will probably require you to purchase a sewing machine (there are even special sewing machines for beginners), but having a machine will make the work much easier (for those who are a bit clumsy with their hands). Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you’ll be able to give a proud answer of “Oh, this? I’ve made this!” when people ask you where you bought that wonderful and unique dress.
      In my opinion, hobbies should be somewhat old-fashioned. This will help us stay in touch with nature and take a step back from the ever-more-frenetic world that we live in. Life used to be a lot slower-paced way back when there were less technological marvels around. Adopting some traits from those simpler times will help your brain defragment, improving relaxation and stress-relief, thus helping you cope with all the hardships that everyday life brings.

      Featured photo credit: http://unsplash.com/post/93258573139/download-by-s-zolkin via pexels.com

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      Katarina Milovanovic

      Creative Writer

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      Last Updated on January 17, 2019

      8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

      8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

      In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

      Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

      Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

      Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

      Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

      The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

      There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

      How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

      According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

      Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

      Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

      The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

      Listen carefully:

      We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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      The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

      Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

      8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

      There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

      Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

      1. Pray Daily

      You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

      When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

      Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

      Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

      2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

      A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

      By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

      Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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      If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

      This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

      How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

      3. Smile Often

      Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

      Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

      Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

      The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

      4. Organize Your Working Desk

      A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

      When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

      Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

      Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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      5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

      I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

      Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

      What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

      6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

      God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

      I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

      I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

      7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

      You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

      How do you do that? This is my formula:

      First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

      If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

      If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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      If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

      Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

      8. Go Exercise

      Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

      The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

      You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

      12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

      The Bottom Line

      It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

      It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

      Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

      More Resources About Mindfulness

      Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

      Reference

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